Setting goals and resolutions for your business is not the key to unlock new levels of success in 2020. Don’t get us wrong, we love goal setting! Goals can be an important rallying cry that can guide you and your team forward, but they don’t actually create meaningful change on their own. So what can help you level up your business? Setting new habits.
In 2019, the Greetabl team read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear and it changed how we think about our goals. It’s easy to neglect a goal when it’s too large, too complex, or too abstract; by focussing on smaller, repeatable actions it’s easier to get started and maintain momentum in the long run. It goes back to the old adage of how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.
But can these small changes in daily activities actually make a real impact on your business? Definitely! James Clear gives several helpful examples in his book (seriously, everyone should read it!), but we’ve also seen the results firsthand at Greetabl. The impact a 1% improvement per day might not seem like a big deal, but in the case of habits, thinking small produces the biggest results over time. As James Clear says, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”
Think of something you’d like to change in your business. Maybe you’d like to get more referrals in 2020 than you did in 2019. Now imagine that every day in 2019 you make 1% more phone calls to past clients to ask for referrals. What kind of impact could that have on your business by the end of the year? It could be huge, right? That’s the value of habits! Plus, you’re more likely to stick with your goal if you reframe it as a habit that you can do every day.
To take things to the next level, stack your new habits with something else that you already do every day. For example, if you check social media several times a day, create a new habit that you do every time you check Facebook. At the end of the day, you’ll have made a big change – and that will continue to snowball throughout the year, without taking a lot more time out of your typical workday or workweek. One of the hardest parts of starting something new is keeping momentum over time, but habit stacking can help overcome this challenge.
Does a shift away from goals and resolutions mean that you shouldn’t track your performance over time and measure your results? Absolutely not. A habit is only helpful if it moves your business forward, so it’s still critical to pay attention to the outcomes in the long run. In fact, habits make tracking progress even easier because you can track your progress on a daily basis! At the end of each day, you will know if you made your referral calls or not. It gives you a benchmark and also helps you work toward a larger goal over time.
This might sound a little 101 to you, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t make a big difference in your business. Here are a few of our favorite habits for small businesses and soloprenuers in 2020:
- Every time you sign a contract with a new client, ask them for their mailing address and birthday
- Call one past client per day during your afternoon coffee break to ask for a referral
- Every time you check Facebook, text one client to tell them you’re thinking of them
- Reach out to one person a day who likes your Instagram posts to thank them for supporting your business
- Ask for the email addresses of parents and other relatives every time you send an online gallery to a bride (then send the gallery to the parents, too!)
What other habits could make a significant impact for your business? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!